Sunday, January 22, 2017

Chapter 67 (1/22/17)

Eep!  This is it.  This is the last post...for now.  I thought it would be two, so I apologize for the lack of proper warning, but it all worked better as just one post, so here it is.  I'll be posting soon over at NBNA, and if I'm feeling inspired after that, I might come back and go a little further with Jenna and Ryan's story.  I'm not sure, so I'm going to leave it open.  Assume this is the end, and I'll let you know if I decide that it's not.  Thank you all again so much for reading, being patient, and supporting me in my hobby here!  You have all been the best readers and I value your loyalty and kindness so very much.  This story wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for your support of NBNA in the first place!
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As I tended to when drinking, I awoke fairly early the next morning.  I laid in bed for a long time trying to fall back to sleep and hoping my throbbing head would calm to a dull ache.  Luckily, the pulsing pain in my temples was the only physical symptom of my overindulgence the night before.  Wine, while I loved it so, tended to give me headaches, even if I only had a couple glasses.  And I’d definitely had more than a couple last night.
Eventually I stumbled out of bed.  I dug some Tylenol out of my purse and took them to the bathroom.  I filled the glass in there with water and swallowed the pills.  Blinking at myself in the mirror, I realized I had done a terrible job taking my eye makeup off last night.  Big, dark smudges were hanging out under my eyes.  I wiped them away and had some more water.
Back in the room, Ryan was still fast asleep.  My stomach rumbled, and I checked out the clock.  7:15.  I changed my shorts out for some yoga pants and wandered down to the hotel lobby.  They had a continental breakfast happening, so I grabbed a couple bagels, a banana and an apple, and a couple containers of yogurt and brought them up to the room.  Then I left again, found the small coffee stand I had seen the night before on the way out, and ordered a dirty chai for me and a black coffee for Ryan.
The desk in our room made a fine breakfast table, and I was just finishing up spreading cream cheese on one half of my bagel and jelly on the other when I heard Ryan stirring.  “Do I smell coffee?” he croaked sleepily.
“You do,” I replied.  I took his coffee over to him, and then sat on my bed with my bagel.  “Good morning.”
Ryan took a careful sip of the hot coffee.  “Good morning,” he replied.  “Look, about last night…”  He pushed his hand through his hair, making it stand on end in a couple spots.  “I’m sorry, Jenna.  You were absolutely right about Eleanor.  She was being inappropriate and I wasn’t stopping her, and I should have.”
I didn’t say anything for a long time.  I wondered if he was going to mention the part where I told him I wanted to be his girlfriend and he told me I actually didn’t.  But he didn’t say anything else, and I admitted to myself that I had some explaining and apologizing to do too.  I took a deep breath to compose my thoughts, but before I could stop myself, I blurted out, “I love you too, Ryan.”
Ryan’s mouth dropped open slightly, and I slapped both hands over mine.  That wasn’t how I wanted this to happen.  “You were awake,” he muttered, closing his eyes briefly.  He flipped the blankets back and sat up.
“I’m sorry,” I said hurriedly.  “I had been sleeping but I woke up when you came in.  I wanted you to think I was sleeping because I didn’t want to fight anymore and I was worried if you knew I was awake you’d want to talk and we’d just end up arguing again.  I didn’t mean to lie to you, though I guess I didn’t lie to you, I just pretended that I was sleeping when I wasn’t.  And after you said that, I thought it would be a really bad time to tell you I was actually awake, so I just laid there.  But then after you fell asleep, I told you I loved you too, but you were actually asleep, unlike me, who was just pretending to be asleep, and you had your noise app on, so you didn’t hear me, and—“ 
“Stop talking, Jenna,” he interrupted, standing and crossing the short distance between our beds.
“What?” I asked, shocked.
“I said, ‘stop talking, Jenna,” he repeated.  He sat down next to me and kissed me, hard. 
“Oh,” I said, when our lips had parted.  “Well, okay.”
He looked at me in amazement.  “So, when you said you wanted to be my girlfriend…it actually wasn’t just because you were drunk and pissed about Eleanor?”
“No!” I exclaimed.  “I told you that!  I wasn’t that drunk.  I mean, I’ll admit that my timing with it all was terrible.  But I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.  I just couldn’t figure out a good time to bring it all up.  I was nervous about having the conversation because I was scared you’d changed your mind.  And so when you were weird about it last night, I thought you really did change your mind, and that’s why I got so awful after it.  I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry, nothing about the way I acted last night was okay.”
“I think we both said some things we shouldn’t have,” Ryan said.  “So I’m sorry for how I handled the whole thing.”
“I’m sorry I ruined your friend’s wedding,” I replied mournfully.  “You must have been so embarrassed.  I’m embarrassed.  Your friends must think I’m absolutely crazy.  I was ‘that girl’ last night.”
“I care very little about any of their opinions at this point in my life,” Ryan said.  “And surprisingly enough, I don’t think anyone noticed.  We weren’t loud, we didn’t make a scene.  And I stopped in a bar for a drink and to think for a little bit when I left here, and half the guests were there anyway. Apparently the party died down awfully quickly, and no one said a word about it.  I’m pretty sure the only person who even realized we were gone was Eleanor.”
“Was she there, at the bar?” I asked hesitantly.  I immediately questioned if I actually wanted to know that information, then decided I did.
“Not when I got there.  She came in as I was paying my tab.  She tried to get me to stay and that’s when I realized that you had been right.”  He saw my face and said, “Nothing crazy happened.  She just was hanging on me and touching me and asking me to stay over and over, and that’s not how you act when you just want to catch up with an old friend.  I wish she hadn’t even seen me out without you.  I shouldn’t have gone out.”
“If you would have stayed here we just would have kept arguing,” I said.  “I’m not upset that you left, or that you ran into her, if you’re worried about that.”
“Either way, I’m glad to hear it,” he said.  “So, about that whole girlfriend thing…”
“Yeah?” I asked, smiling.
He returned my smile and reached out, squeezing my knee.  “I think it sounds like a great idea.”
My heart rate picked up, and I looked at him hopefully.  “Even with your traveling, and my ridiculousness, and—“
“You already told me you love me, you can’t back out now,” he teased me gently.  “We’ll figure it out.  Let’s just take it one step at a time, okay?  And we weren’t seeing other people before, so the only thing that’s truly changed is how we introduce each other.”
“Well, I guess that’s true,” I said, nodding slowly.  “Yeah.  It is.”  Ryan waited while my hungover brain worked over this information.  I grimaced; my slightly delayed hangover was catching up with me.  “I feel awful.”
Ryan laughed, and the sound hurt my head.  “I can only imagine,” he said.  “To be honest, I don’t feel so hot myself.  A little too much cheap whiskey at the bar.”  He eyed up the bagels I had retrieved and took another long drink of his coffee.  “Food might help.”
“A nap might help,” I replied, yawning.  
“What do you say we eat those bagels,” he said, standing and pulling me to my feet, “the yogurt can wait, because…no.  But we’ll eat those bagels and then take a nap, and when we wake up we can find somewhere to go eat a huge brunch and I bet by then it’ll be like last night never even happened.”
“I would definitely like to pretend that last night didn’t happen,” I said, following him to the desk and picking up my abandoned bagel.  I only managed about half of it before wrinkling my nose and pushing it away.  Ryan polished his off, and then we both climbed in bed—the same one this time.
We settled under the blankets, tangled together comfortably.  It didn’t take long for my eyes to get heavy.  I was almost asleep when I heard Ryan whisper, “Hey.”
“Hey yourself,” I mumbled back. 
He laughed softly.  “I just realized that you said something really important earlier that I didn’t respond to.”
“I did?” I asked.  I rolled onto my back and opened one eye, squinting sleepily at him.
“You did,” he said.  “Jenna, I love you.”
I smiled and closed my eyes again, burrowing into his chest.  “I love you too, Ryan.”

12 comments:

  1. Nooo this can't be the end! Love your writing! Love this! Can't wait for NBNA! Love all the things haha

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    1. Ha! And I love your enthusiasm! Thank you. I can't wait to see you back over at NBNA!

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  2. Eeeeeeeeeeeee! So excited to see you will be posting in NBNA. Yu are a talented writer and although I wasn't too crazy about Kenna, I am kind of sad to see this is the (hopefully temporary) end of this story. You have some major skills to make a fictional character so unlikable, whether or not it was intentional, hahaha. Glad to see this is not the end!!

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    1. Well, thank you! I'm glad you've enjoyed a story about a character you don't like, haha. I'll see you over at NBNA!

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  3. I love how she was in typical Jenna mode talking, talking, talking and he told her to stop. Crack me up. Will miss them. mum

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    1. Someone needed to! Thanks for your loyal readership!

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  4. Awwwww, so sweet!!! I am SOOOO HOPING this isn't the end of Jenna and Ryan's story!!! But, if it is, at least it's on a positive note. :)

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    1. We'll see what happens! I've been much more inspired to write lately, so who knows what might happen.

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  5. I really hope you continue this one on at a later date. Its been one of my favorites.

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you've enjoyed it so much :)

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    2. I pretty much enjoy anything you write!

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    3. I pretty much enjoy anything you write!

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